On the sixth anniversary of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge‘s death, Sri Lanka goes to the polls to decide if President Mahinda Rajapaksa on whose watch his brutal murder was committed, will get a third term in presidential office.
In a strange twist of fate President Rajapaksa himself chose January 8th 2015 as the date to seek re-election. Eight is supposed to be the incumbent’s lucky number. Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya declared he could not call elections before January 7. With the Pope’s visit scheduled for January 13th the President’s lucky number cropped up conveniently in between.
It did not take long for activists and loved ones to realise what President Rajapaksa had done.
January 8 was not only the day Lasantha had been murdered on his way to work. It also happened to be the birthday of SLFP Founder S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike. In a strangely poetic twist President Rajapaksa would face a challenger who was claiming to fight to win back SWRD’s party from the clutches of the Rajapaksa family who had wrested control of the party and had set about destroying it and undermining it for nine long years.
Colombo Telegraph learns that apart from 20 MPs in the Government camp all other ruing party MPs want Rajapaksa defeated in today’s election.
Bradman Weerakoon providing a glimpse of campaigning from a village in Kalutara has marvelled at the phenomenon of SLFP grassroots members and UNP grassroots members working together in the area.
With the SLFP machinery paralysed by hundreds of defections at pradeshiya sabha and urban council level the Rajapaksa campaign largely relied on public servants to carry out campaign activity. He could no longer trust his SLFP membership to work for him on the ground.
This resulted in well organised rallies and good choreography but very little canvassing at the local level.
Today hundreds of Lasantha’s close friends, family former colleagues will be catalysed by his death to vote against the administration that protected his killers for six years.
Today, thousands of Freedom Party members with their minds of their Party Founder may seek to vote against the man who caused his party to fracture through the middle.
Sometime in this election season the Rajapaksa administration lost the police and the judiciary that showed a resurgence of independent spirit in the last week of the campaign. The President’s janapathi janahamuwa interview was blocked across three television networks by a district court and attempts to overturn the suspension order yesterday failed – twice in two separate courts.
The death of Shantha Dodangoda, the opposition campaigner who was shot while constructing a stage for Maithripala Sirisena’s rally in Kahawatte last week has also counted against the regime. Once again a ruling party member – a deputy minister no less – is implicated in the murder and is evading arrest. The first death of the 2015 presidential election campaign is emblematic of the impunity and brutality of the incumbent regime.
LaLaLasantha / January 8, 2015
Yeah Jan 8 the day Mahinda Rajapaksa’s friend Lasantha Wickramatunghe murderers compete on defence ticket on either side of the setup.
Gotabha Rajapksa and Sarath Fonseka are credibly accused of the broad day light murder.
Leelagemalli / January 8, 2015
May srilankens be strong to have the healthy conscience to vote for a change. May their emotions be replaced with thoughts against the brutal man in power.
No doubt the rulers should be sent home gracefully.
sama / January 8, 2015
If it is the case that the majority dont want MR to be brought before Hague, he should have proved his genuine politics in terms of being unbiased regarding the case of Lasantha, Baratha, and the others that have still been longing for the justice
K.A Sumanasekera / January 8, 2015
The great majority of the inhabitant voters wouldn’t know Lasantha from Wasanthan.
It will be the Elite , and the Anglicans who will be facing a dilemma at the voting booth, when ex General Fonny is with Sira, their last hope…e
Tamil Voice / January 8, 2015
you idiot if you havent heard of lasantha in sri lanka you must be some vedda from another planet
viranthi k / January 8, 2015
lasantha was a hero let sri lankans everywhere remember him today
Native Vedda / January 8, 2015
“you must be some vedda from another planet”
Show me one Tamil who is cleverer than a Veddah?
Aravinda / January 8, 2015
to this stupid comment that said lasantha’s name was only for the elites please come and visit sri lanka and see who lasanthas sacrifice was for he was the voice for the opressed and voiceless he was loved by this whole nation lasantha was for the poor masses
Muslim Voice / January 8, 2015
Don’t insult the intelligence of all Sri Lankan people who knew and loved Lasantha for his investigative journalism and unprecedented exposure of rackets and racketeers. What a day to remember him on an election day to boot the rascals who killed him out of power. His bravery with the pen will always remain unmatched.
Sylvia Haik / January 9, 2015
K.A Sumanasekera You have the distinct capacity to display your ignorance with every word you write. Lasantha’s love for the common people is repaid time and time again by the reverence with which they still hold him. Even an imbecilic idiot such as you could rely on Lasantha, if you were persecuted by the powers that be, because he was that indiscriminate.
Native Vedda / January 8, 2015
“The great majority of the inhabitant voters wouldn’t know Lasantha from Wasanthan.”
Ask people of Kurupanawa they will tell you exactly who Lasantha was and when, where and how he was assassinated.
Puransisku / January 8, 2015
According to CT “Colombo Telegraph learns that apart from 20 MPs in the Government camp all other ruing party MPs want Rajapaksa defeated in today’s election”. MPs have various reasons to defeat Rajapakses: some did not get the suitable portfolios, some were degraded in their rank due to the arrival of more efficient members, a large number of them got posts without any power or earning capacity. Rajapakses are popular among Sri Lankans because they defeated the LTTE. They are considered as war heroes. From ancient times it is our tradition to respect the war heroes, whether they are good, bad or ugly, at least for 07 generations. Those traditions are still existing in the collective subconscious of the people of this country; although slightly altered by the Western civilization.
Amarasiri / January 8, 2015
“Rajapakses are popular among Sri Lankans because they defeated the LTTE. They are considered as war heroes. From ancient times it is our tradition to respect the war heroes, whether they are good, bad or ugly, at least for 07 generations.”
& generations or 2 Terms?
Native Vedda / January 8, 2015
“From ancient times it is our tradition to respect the war heroes,”
So what happened since? When did your people change from respecting war heroes worshiping war criminals?
Prespoll / January 8, 2015
what is great man like lasantha doing in a photograph with that killer
Anton / January 8, 2015
This mahas all the hallmarks of a “BRUTAL DICTATOR”. He got his opponents murdered. Got his thugs to threaten the whole population and the mass media and also looted our national wealth. 9th January should be declared as “LIBERATION FROM DICTATOR DAY” or “ANTI-DICTATOR DAY”. May peace and harmony prevail once again in out beloved country
Anton / January 8, 2015
Sorry, the previous comment should read as “this man has” and not this mahas.
Ruba Gnanaratnam / January 8, 2015
Lasantha.W was one of our best journalist and well respected.He was also a husband,father and his life brutally taken away.We hear the anguish in the daughter’s letter.
Too bad, in all the euphoria of worshipping war heroes we then ate the crumbs that fell from the Regime family and worshipped the very same who continued from war heroes to war criminals to every day criminals.
Tom / January 8, 2015
im guessing that photo was taken when he was sworn in as prime minister in 2004
j.thavarajah / January 8, 2015
Actually,there are no veddahs on other planets.They have been made extinct by the colonisation of other species.But,you have them in plenty on this planet and most of them are Native to Srilanka.I know one who is a maestro in Polemics.
srinik jaks / January 8, 2015
i doubt the rajapakse’s have won any war
Tony Francis / January 8, 2015
“Going, Going, Gone”!!! that is what Tarzie Vittachi wrote, when GG Ponna
was kicked out of the Govt, if my memory is correct; Now the Sri Lankans can say the Devil is ” GOING, GOING,GONE”, pehaps to China,before being
grabbed by the mob. Perhaps his brother might have alredy vanished!